CBS Sports reports that the Sacramento Kings have filed for and received an extension to consider moving the team to Anaheim. As the Kings continue to struggle and the Maloofs who own the team are experiencing financial difficulties in one of their Las Vegas casinos, rumors have swirled about the possibility of the Kings moving from Sacramento.
Rumors have included Las Vegas but more plausibly, Anaheim. NBA Commissioner David Stern recently acknowledged discussions about a possible relocation and the Kings have requested additional time to consider the move. Despite the issues, the Maloofs have maintained that they will not sell the team but are open to the possibility of relocation.
According to this report, the NBA also wants time to review the potential move to Anaheim as they are “not sold” on Orange County. Some believe that the Maloofs are trying to apply pressure to Sacramento in order to obtain a new arena.
By all accounts, the Maloofs are willing to move the team unless a new arena is provided in Sacramento which will be a tough sell for voters.
The Maloofs, owners of the Sacramento Kings as well as the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. An NBA team to Las Vegas has long been rumored, but many NBA insiders don’t believe that Las Vegas is a viable long-term option for an NBA franchise. The Maloofs, as early as a few weeks ago, indicated publicly that they were not considering offers to move the team from Sacramento but did confirm that they received inquiries.
According to Fox40 in Sacramento, the family appears to have changed their tune on the matter. According to this report, the family released a statement saying “We are looking at all options to ensure the long-term viability of this franchise.”
This is a stark change from denying any thought of moving the franchise. I’m not even saying it’s a bad idea as the Kings have been a pretty awful franchise in recent memory, but you never like to see a fanbase lose a franchise. I don’t know what the attendance in Sacramento is or how this would be received by fans, but it’s definitely a major shakeup in the NBA. The last team to move cities was the then Seattle Supersonics which are now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Seattle fans have yet to recover and feel rightly screwed.
So why the sudden change by the Maloofs? As with everything, it all comes down to money. The wealthy family has reportedly run into money problems, especially with their casino investment in Vegas. The Palms Casino reportedly missed a deadline to refinance a $400M loan which could seriously jeopardize the Casino’s operations. Bloomberg News also reports that these money problems could open them up to a takeover bid which would reduce the Maloof’s ownership and control of the casino.
Add this to a struggling NBA franchise and you have owners who are at a minimum, feeling like they are up against a wall. The Maloofs undoubtedly want to maintain control of their casino and I’m sure they want to make money with their NBA venture. So if they are losing money in Vegas as well as in the NBA, they may need to refocus their efforts and divest to some degree.
According to the Fox40 report, some close to the situation believe that the investment group that owns Caesar’s Palace may be interested in gaining a majority share of the Kings, with the intent to move the franchise to Las Vegas.
Now, there is a very real possibility that this is just a political move, and a savvy one at that, in order to apply pressure on the City in order to get a new arena. What better way to get the taxpayers to fund your arena than to threaten to move the franchise to Las Vegas, right?
We’ll see what happens and I doubt they move the franchise, but it is at least the first time that the Maloofs have publicly stated that they are open to moving the Kings out of Sacramento.
Anderson Varejao fights Tyreke Evans for a rebound
Attending my first Cleveland Cavaliers game for the Cleveland Leader, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I picked up my media pass, walked down to the lower level and navigated through the locker room area. I walked past several players dribbling in the hallway who all seemed very loose and in great spirits. I write this as I sit waiting for Head Coach Byron Scott’s pre-game interview and listen to the other sportswriters (who actually do this for a living and know what they’re doing!). Of note, when checking out my seating, I saw that Jim Gray is announcing the game tonight. Shocking that he had the stones to show his face in Cleveland after his role in the now infamous DECISION.
This is obviously going to be a very different season than what Cavs fans are accustomed to experiencing and honestly I think the first two games are a microcosm of what the entire season will entail. There is no doubt that Byron Scott has an entirely new philosophy and style and he is just about the best possible choice for the Cavs after the departure of Mike Brown. In the home opener against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics, the Cavs new system and team basketball were in full display. There was great ball movement and offensive production, they played intelligent, intense, and played as a team for the first time in quite a long time.
Unfortunately, in their next game at Toronto, the Cavs played almost the exact opposite as they did the night before. The ball did not move offensively, they committed 19 turnovers, and were taken advantage of on the boards and in the paint. Obviously, there are going to be some deficiencies on the team and interior play is one of the glaring problems for the team. There is no doubt the Cavaliers are less talented than in years past and Byron Scott will need to adjust for, and counter some of these deficiencies with intensity, intelligence, and effort and that often times still won’t be enough. Coach Byron Scott echoed these thoughts in his pre-game interview tonight citing an overall lack of energy and effort against Toronto and saying that “the team didn’t really get involved until well into the 2nd half”. Coach emphasized that if the team doesn’t execute on offense, doesn’t run, doesn’t play with energy and turns the ball over 19 times, they will have a long night.
Coach Scott mentioned that it will be great to have Andy back tonight as a lack of energy was one of the main problems in the game against Toronto. Questioned about Ramon Sessions’ poor shooting night, Coach emphasized his importance to the team as he is the leader and initiator of the offense at this point and he is “the head of the snake”. Mo Williams will miss his 3rd game of the season and Byron Scott spoke about Mo’s importance to the team long-term and they are being very patient with him to make sure he’s ready to go for both the benefit of the team and for Mo.
As the crowd started to fill the arena and we got closer to tip off, there was just something very different about the Q. This was my first game post-LeBron and there were many things that were exactly the same. There was still a buzz in the air, there was still a great deal of excitement, the players were still goofing around laughing before the game started….There was just something missing… Obviously it’s going to take some time for the fans and the team to adjust without the ENTITLED ONE, and even though he’s public enemy #1, he’s still missed.
Heading into the game, I was curious to see how the team would react and bounce back from a blowout loss. I was also curious to see how they would handle the first back to back of the young season. They answered incredibly well to start the game as they were driving and penetrating with ease, pushing the fastbreak at every opportunity, and working hard on the glass. From the start of the game, however, it was clear that no matter how much effort, the Cavs are just missing an inside presence and they were struggling to get any kind of stops. They opened up a 16 point lead however throughout the first half and looked to have control over the game.
I was also curious to see if Antawn Jamison would improve after a very slow start as he adjusts to his new role coming off the bench. He lead the team in points last night against Toronto with a mere 13 points but shot the ball well from beyond the arc (3-5). It has been my belief that Antawn isn’t happy with his situation in Cleveland as he was expecting to be on a title contender and certainly thought he’d be starting. To me, he doesn’t look like he wants to be here at all. He looks disinterested & like he’s just biding his time. He may fit very well with Byron Scott’s Princeton offense, but the reality is, he just isn’t a great fit for the uptempo, fastbreak emphasis that Byron Scott is employing. I’ll be surprised if he’s a Cavalier at the end of the year.
It certainly appears that J.J. Hickson will be team’s go to scorer and I’m curious to see if he can repeat strong play on a nightly basis and become the reliable double-double player that the Cavs need him to be. He had another solid night, but he wasn’t spectacular as the offense struggled for the most part in the half court and he struggled from the floor. Hickson finished with 15 points and only 5 rebounds on 4-11 shooting. Boobie also played well chipping in 20 points and he seems to be flourishing in the new system.
Ramon Sessions, one of the lone bright spots for the Cavs, bounced back from a rough game against Toronto with 21 points (9-13 FG) and played a very good all around game. He was able to effectively push the ball constantly in transition, get to the rim seemingly at ease, and did a solid job facilitating the offense. The trouble for the Cavs at this point, is they really only have a couple players who can consistently win a one on one matchup in the half court. At this point, I would consider Hickson & Sessions the only viable one on one options when they’re trying to attack a defense that is set up in the half court. When they’re not able to beat the transition defense, they seem to struggle.
Defensively, the Cavs were horrendous as they were unable to stop the Kings for most of the game. While they ran out to a 16 point lead in the first half, all of that lead was given back in what felt like just a few minutes in the 3rd quarter. The Kings were able to get to the rim at ease and were knocking down jumper after jumper. The Kings controlled the 2nd half and the Cavs were really fighting to get back into the game from the mid-point of the 3rd quarter on. Tyreke Evans was outstanding for the Kings finishing with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Rookie DeMarcus Cousins also played a solid game with his first NBA double-double scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Casspi and Landry for the Kings seemed to never miss a shot and they chipped in 20 and 17 respectively.
The Cavs certainly didn’t lack energy or effort in this game and it is again, fairly reflective of what the season will bring this year. They are missing a go to option on the offensive end, an inside presence, and they’re still learning to play as a team. They will be consistently inconsistent throughout the year with wild fluctuations as we’ve seen already in the first 3 games. They started out with a great win over Boston, got blown out by Toronto, and then jumped out to a big lead against the Kings and ultimately lost. They will continue to play hard and smart basketball, but you’re not going to know what you’re going to get from them on a nightly basis.
As Halloween is tomorrow, there were many fans dressed up for the occasion and there was one that was PERFECT and worth mentioning. One Cavs fan wore a LeBron James jersey and had a big knife sticking in his back which is just a perfect reflection of how most, if not all, Cavs fans feel post DECISION.